The irony in what was supposed to be a low moment turned out to be one of the most positive ones for me. For those who don’t know, I struggled with low self-confidence for quite some time from pubescent into my adulthood.
There was a time in my youthful days where I was beaming with confidence, the year was 1997 and everything seemed to be looking up for me. Then we got the news, my father, my best friend, had stage 4 cancer and had just a few months to live. It shook my world, to say the least. I don’t think I ever cried as much before.
The following years were melancholy. I put on a cheerful face in school but came home to my father struggling with cancer every day. We spent a lot of time together, watching movies, T.V. shows, talking, playing cards, going for long drives around the country, some real quality father-son time. However, deep down inside I knew time was limited with him, I just knew, but I refused to acknowledge it.
Then in early 2000, he passed away, battling for 4 years longer than the doctors had given him. He was a true fighter and we honestly believed he would’ve overcome cancer and lived on. I was the last person to speak with him and at his side when he “left”.
That became the worst I ever cried in my entire life. For several years after his passing, I didn’t see the point of life anymore. I lived with severe depression and kept to myself, never really getting as close to anyone like that again.
I felt as though I wasn’t meant to be close with anyone anymore, so I didn’t try.
The peak of my depression came during 2006. I started partying heavily, spending money chaotically and doing things I always knew were wrong. Essentially wasting my life away. What was the point of living an astute life if we’re all going to suffer and die anyway? That was my thinking back then.
In that depression, I found someone. The year had just turned and I started thinking I needed to let go of my devil-may-care attitude. That’s why I felt that the person I found, as a result of my changed perspective would be good for me. I took a leap of faith.
Little did I realise because I had not fully overcome my depression and just a change of perspective wasn’t enough to attract better things. There was so much more I needed to do and work on internally, that I didn’t.
We soon got married, despite heavy pushback from her parents. After all, we’re adults, we know what we were doing right? Boy, we couldn’t be more wrong.
The marriage lasted 6 years total and was a whirlwind of chaos. It felt much longer. Not every year was total anarchy but never did the peace last long enough to truly assess what the fuck was really happening. The minute clarity came to mind, fate, it seems, knocked it over its head once again and we had a bunch of new problems to deal with, mounting up from previous problems we never truly dealt with.
I was in survival and autopilot mode half the time for the sake of my newly born son.
Not exaggerating here, but I married a mentally unstable, extremely jealous, manipulative, pretentious, traumatized, pathological liar who grew up in an abusive home and she projected that lifestyle onto me. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, that’s the person I married.
Depression, low self-esteem and lack of experience don’t allow you to see the red flags prior to making such a commitment.
So every time things became heated between us, I had to deal with unresolved traumas from her physically abusive father and mentally abusive mother all in one. The rage and anger I got were unwarranted. Not to mention she had an “always-the-victim” mentality.
I’m not saying I didn’t do my wrong as well, but everyone who witnessed our marriage knew she was the instigator and manipulator of it all, who only wanted to dominate me. Even our couples therapist told me this. The marriage was terribly unbalanced.
I myself became physically and mentally abused all the years. As the saying goes, abused people often become abusers themselves and I experienced that first hand. Every day was a struggle for her just to live a normal life.
I felt drained and exhausted half the time because it required so much energy to deal with her abnormal demands and unreasonable insecurities. I rather stayed at my office till late than go home to her.
When we first met, she suffered a type of PTSD I believe, her hands were always shaking and could never remain still. I naively believed that would improve over time if our lives got better and we were together longer. It never did.
It wasn’t all hell all the time. There were about two years where she did not speak to her parents after we split once and she came back months later. They had encouraged her to be unreasonably dramatic and she knew they were toxic. Those were the only two years we had some sort of peace.
She then reconnected with them and everything became unstable all over again, like a reoccurring hurricane in our lives. All the traits before our first split came back. It’s as though she tried being a different person but couldn’t. You know what they say, a leopard cannot change its spots.
By that time I had enough. I had even considered suicide for a moment one night during our last year together before I told her I could not do this anymore. I wanted her out of my life for good. Of course, she did what she does best, yet again and blew it way out of proportion, going full-blown victim as usual.
She made a dramatic exit and left with my son, her belongings and even took the mop. Did I mention how petty she was?
In my depression, prior to 2007, I did not know it, but I attracted what would become a tremendous life lesson. Rather than to help get me out of my depression, it pushed me even deeper down, to a point where I almost considered suicide for a moment.
Some experiences in life make you or break you. This was one of those.
This 6-year intense boot camp about the value of life pushed me to my limits, and I know I came out wiser and more resilient than I ever could’ve been.
It felt as though I had lived an entire lifetime in just 6 years.
The experience made me tougher and less fearful about facing huge challenges in life.
I once saved a guy from drowning in rough deep waters. According to him, seconds before I swam out, he had given up and thought he was gone forever. When we made it back to the shore, on solid land, I remember that feeling of gratefulness and gratitude for life,
Making it back to shore and my divorce felt very similar. I could breathe again without struggling for life.
Today, someone I never knew got a second chance in life to live because I naively went out to save him.
Today my son is alive because I naively thought marrying his mother would save her from her abusive parents. So a greater good has come out of these experiences.
Knowing that those two situations almost killed me and the fact I made it out alive against the odds has boosted my self-confidence way back up than ever before. So much so that I’m almost fearless about the pursuit of life and welcome any challenge that may come my way.
In the end, it prepared and pushed me to chase the mountainous dreams I’ve always had which I kept putting off due to lack of confidence, fear and made me realise time is running out. We’re often thrust into difficult situations, some we bring about ourselves, some we don’t. What matters most is that we come out to the next end, stronger and wiser to chase the path we were meant to pave for ourselves.